Judging from the results and the constant excuses, all is not good in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Cape Shark reports.
Opening the Sunday Times yesterday, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to endure yet another Sharks game write-up from the local New Zealand scribe. I mean, I’m all for multi-culturalism, but, hell, these guys are ungracious in defeat. For instance did you know that the Sharks’ last two wins have been the direct result of ‘curious’ and ‘frustrating’ refereeing? That’s right. Never mind the obvious errors from the losing team which must have contributed to their own downfall somehow. Well, I have a theory of my own: ‘At the end of the season, the log never lies.’ And in two months’ time this writer is going to have to think of some new excuses to justify his local teams and their respective positions.
This last piece about the Blues defeat, once again, began with the assertion that the entire game hung on a dubious call that went the Sharks’ way. Apparently smokin’ Joe Rococoko was tackled by players that were from an offside position. This should have been a penalty but was ignored. End result was that John Smit barged over for a try five minutes later.
If you’re left scratching you head and wondering what the big deal is, you’re right. This ain’t exactly penalty try stuff. Besides, there were some big calls that went against the Sharks, like Keegan Daniel’s big hack ahead that was smothered by a Blues defender and not released, five metres from the tryline. That was a shocking call and given the circumstances would have been more likely to result in a try.
Then there’s the usual post match quips from the losing coach who is ‘perplexed, baffled and dismayed’ by the referee’s decisions. Must be easy being a coach over there. You and your team can do nothing wrong.
Actually, what it all boils down to is that Kiwi rugby has gone down the crapper and the reality is not settling in very well over there. On Saturday the Super legendary Crusaders lost to perennial basement dwellars the Highlanders in the lowest scoring game of the tournament’s history. 6-0.
The game was toilet and if nothing else just plain sad. As Rob mentioned the other day this Crusaders team has only 5 players who played in last year’s tournament final!
New Zealand rugby has been completely ravaged by player exodus and the uncompromising attitude from the national coach has only backfired. No greater example of this, is the fact that Dan Carter, the lovechild of New Zealand and world rugby, has left their shores and potentially turned his back on his country. What it confirms is how dead loyalty is in this game. As Jerry Seinfeld remarks, ‘sport these days is about rooting for laundry’.
So with the Cheetahs being no better than a club team, the Crusaders languishing at the bottom of the log, the Reds requesting a re-structuring of the tournament, SA Rugby allegedly trying to pull its teams out and Mark Keohane stating that he’d rather watch the Heineken Cup, is the end nigh for the Super 14?
The way I see it, it has to be about quality over quantity. Adding a 15th team is the exact opposite of what they should do. It should revert back to 10, maybe 12 teams max; a provincial team is either ‘promoted’ to- or ‘relegated’ from Super Rugby based on their performance in their domestic cup. I.e. to qualify for Superrugby, a South African team would have to make the semifinals of the Currie Cup. This promotion/relegation strategy would ensure that there are no easy beats and dull affairs. I seem to recall that this is how Super10 began. Now it’s bloated and all about money.Tweet